This has to be my favorite of all Thomas Hardys many classic works. Far from the Madding Crowd was published in 1874 when the novelist was 34 years old. It is one of the earliest works of English literature I can think of which has a fully rounded, fully independent, fully human female protagonist. Bathsheba Everdene runs a farm, is only semi-aware of her own extraordinary beauty, and is pursued by three very different men throughout the course of the book. Far from the Madding Crowd may, in some sense, be the model for every cheapo drugstore romance novel ever written, but it is a classic for the very simple and very good reason that it transcends the genre it may have helped to start. Bathshebas trials, in love and elsewhere, are completely realized, with terrific detail. Hardy has a powerful understanding of human nature and makes each of the characters both deep and broad, both simple and complex, both good and filled with fault. The result is a story with many characters, each of whom is as full-blooded and human as a reader could hope. Its a book which bears reading again and again, as each new reading shows the reader new detail and new depth not previously seen. A more three-dimensional character study may not exist in novel form--and the beauty of it is that all this terrific character examination is done against the backdrop of a wonderful plot as well. You really couldnt ask for a more richly satisfying novel. Far From the Madding Crowd is a wonderful story about an honest and good man. This man is Gabriel Oak, a small time shepherd trying to gain his independance as a farmer. In his quest for independance he meets Bathsheba Everdene, a very pretty young woman, and falls instantly in love. On a whim he goes and askes Miss Everdene for her hand in marriage, eventhough he has barely known her for a week. She rejects farmer Oaks proposal. The next week Batsheba moves away to a far away town. Eventhough he is rejected by Miss Everdene he vows that he will always love her, and being the honest man that he is Oak did exactly that. Not long after Miss Everdenes rejection Oak finds himself in financial ruin. A young, inexperienced sheep dog that farmer Oak owns, carelessly chases all two hundred of Oaks sheep off of a cliff killing them. After this devestating blow Oak sells everything that he owns and moves away in search of new work. On the road to finding new work Oak happenes upon a small structure that is on fire. Oak immeaditly jumps into action to help save the surrounding structures from also burning to the ground. After he has accomplished this good deed Oak Finds out that the owner of the buildings he has just saved is no other than Miss Bathsheba Everdene. He also finds out that she is now the mistress of a large estate on which these buildings are located. In his desperate situation he askes Miss Everdene if she would like to hire a shepherd and out of her thankfulness she gives Oak a job. Oak continues to work for Miss Everdene through good times and bad, he is very faithful to her. Even after Miss Everdene marries a man that is less than good Oaks good nature and love for Miss Everdene forces him to stay by her side. Through Oaks good nature and honesty he earns the respect of all his neighbors and Bathshebas farm prospers with his help. In being honest and good does farmer Oak earn Bathshebas love? Does Honesty really pay off? To learn the answers to these questions you will have to read this wonderful novel. Thomas Hardy spares no expense in developing the characters in this delightful novel. Reading it made me feel as if I really knew the characters and I identified with most of them. His sense of depth and detail really brought the book to life. A great story.
- Publication Date:
- 24 / 10 / 2012